Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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very good
1,126 Reviews
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Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Belgium | website

Style: Flanders Oud Bruin

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed for Monk's Café in Philadelphia, but also available for retail purchase elsewhere. Oud Bruin in style; a traditional blend of young and old beers.

Added by nomad on 06-19-2003

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,126
Ratings:
2,894
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
21.61%
 
 
Wants:
87
Gots:
427
For Trade:
6
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Reviews: 1,126 | Ratings: 2,894
Photo of beesy
3.64/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 11.2 ounce bottle into a Sam Adams glass.

A - pours a brilliant dark reddish orange with a finger and a half khaki colored light bodied head that dissipates quickly.

S - vinegar, sour and tangy notes

T - slightly sweet at the front of the palate that quickly turns in to significant amounts of sour and dark cherries that again quickly changes to green apples with a touch of vinegar and cherry coke as it meets the back palate. A lasting sourness of green apples lingers.

M - medium mouthfeel with a fair amount of carbonation.

D - easy to get down, but is somewhat filling due to carbonation.

Overall, a nice sour. Not much I'd change except maybe adding a touch more sourness.

 703 characters

Photo of Magpie14
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: a cranberry red body with some crimson and amber hues. The glass is filled with activity. A very stringy and foamy blob sat on top, it left a few splashes of lace. I like the deep crested color it brings

S: tangy and sour with some yeast and bread whiffs. Some fruits are noticeable, maybe a cherry or two. It smells relatively fresh for the style, nothing overly yeasty in the nose

T: flavors meld together nicely, there is a slap on the tongue that is reminiscent of tart cherries, cranberries, and a variety of bitter apples baked in a loaf of stale bread. The flavors are sour and tickle the tongue rather well. My palate also gathers an ample dose of acidity that, in some ways, helps keep things clean and from being overly full of pucker power. The last part of the sip finishes just a bit sweet

M: light body with a rather clean and crisp snap due to the carbonation levels. I am adjusting to the flavors after the initial blast of tart. I can safely say, it's and easy drinker for the style

D: good sipper. My acquaintance with sour ales is in the novice phase and I think I started with a pretty good one. Not my favorite style of beer, but it is good to mix things up

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Photo of SPLITGRIN
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A deep brownish red carmel colored body hosts a rocky swiss cheese bubbled foamy head. Head has nice staying power and leaves spotty scattered lace all over. Nose is a very funky crisp tartness with hints of cherry, rubarb, and powder candy(like pixie sticks). A musty sour funk soaks the mouth on first sip. The tartness is really much more mild and enjoyable than the firsy mouth full had shown. The sour feel dries out a bit and actually balances with a hint of sweetness. Mouthfeel is that same dry sour hue that is very pleasant. Drinkability is high for this style for me. This was a very nice change from some of the blunt mouth destroyers that other sour beers are to me.

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Photo of bgreg3
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

app- deep amber colors are richer in middle of the glass, and has high levels of carbonation far after pouring.

smell- sour smell with sweet notes lingering in the back. Yeasty overtone. very enticing smell.

taste- Other characteristics of the beer stand out more than the taste. Tart and sour sensations rush your tongue but become sweet in just a second. The taste neutralizes to a beer tasting of amber malt and German yeast. No hops noticed, but it works for the most part.

MF- Bubbly and tingly. The carbonations mixed with the sour notes allows the beer to dance on your tongue in a most enjoyable way.

Drink- This beer killed my palate. It would have been difficult to taste other proceeding beers.

Give this one a go! very interesting!

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2fl.oz brown glass bottle sealed with a standard crown cap. Main and neck label are the same as the BA Avatar. No strength or freshness listed.


Appearance: Ruby chestnut body with a nice looking light tan colored head that stayed at 1” deep for a short while, even when it settled a uniform cap covers the surface. Conditioning seems low, but the overall appearance is solid. Soft Belgian lacing is persistent.

Nose: Saggy soft sour aroma with a wet wood nose. Like rotting bark after a rain storm in the forest, the nose seems to impart a dying freshness. Gentle funk and a delicate dark spice hint.

Taste: Woody feel, damp cloth and soured malts blend with a background lactic lace. A little reticent with a faded sourness seems to allow the yeast to break through here and there.

Mouthfeel: Light body that struggles to maintain a medium overall projection. Can feel thin but it certainly does not feel wanting, the low density adds to the Drinkability here in this case.

Drinkability: A refreshing libation, the low end sourness and laid back light body all conspire to lend a comfort angle that makes this hard to put the glass down.

Overall: I have not seen this one on the West Coast before, so when I spied this lone bottle on the shelves at Hi-Times in Costa Mesa I snapped up the chance to try it again. Hmmmm, nice enough, but a bit of a let down, I think that the draft version is much better, the bottle just seems to lacks balls.

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Photo of PeterIngemi
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from and 11.2oz bottle into a duvel glass.

A: pours a deep redish brown with about a finger of tan with a hint of red head that dissapates nicley... Not much lacing to speak of.

S: earthy funk... Oak... Red fruit jammyness... Mostly cherry not bad smelling brew... Nothing particularly ovehlming or exciting in the nose.

T: deffinate jammyness... With some notes of sour cherry... Deffinatly not very sour, a subtle cola like quality, a touch of toasted grains...

M: light medium body with a medium creamy mouthfeel and a nice clean finish.

O: a good beer, nothing overly exciting, but a solid brew, personally wish the sourness was dialed up a bit long with a little more complexity in the profile... But it is I no way a bad beer.

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Photo of EkimGram
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: 11.2oz bottle poured into Duvel tulip. Colour is a rosy brown, 1/2 finger head that is rather busy and bubbly fades quickly to a thin film and lacing. Decent amount of visible carbonation towards the top.

Smell: Somewhat tart yet roasty. Sour cherries and malt are the strongest aromas.

Taste: Much tarter than the smell, sour and sweet. The cherry flavours float over everything else. Complex and interesting.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied, carbonated with a sharp initial bite. Finishes somewhat sticky.

Overall: This was my first sour and I must say I'm pleasantly surprised. The flavours are all nice and balanced. Mouthfeel is a little abrasive for my taste but that's it.

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Photo of pentathlete
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark translucent red with medium head that sticks around for a bit and laces the glass. Plenty of carbonation and a nose of mellow aspirin sourness, maybe some tart fruit too. Starts off with smooth almost watery base that moves into a tart middle that doesn't quite last long enough or get intensely sour. Slightly disappointing in that regard. Mouthfeel is medium, the finish leans toward metallic. This is drinkable because the sourness doesn't overpower, but that's why I buy a Flemish Ale. This isn't as bad as the Lindeman's Gueuze, but if it were any sweeter it would be pushing it.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a tulip

A: Deep chestnut/amber color, slightly murky but mostly clear. Large tan head that has little retention, quickly dissipating to a thin ring and no film. However, clumpy rings of lacing are left behind all the way down the glass.
S: Was expecting a stronger smell. Sweet, malty background with some funky, fruity aromas up front, but there is also a strong diacetyl-smell detracts from it.
T: Starts off as expected with a sour twang, of ripe fruit, green apples, etc. Surprising taste of malty sweetness occasionally pokes through before strong vinegary sour finish again with buttery taste.
M: Crisp, refreshing, but slightly thin. Carbonation compliments sour flavors nicely, but finish is cloying and buttery along with the sour.
D: Great flavor and appearance, but the smell and especially the mouthfeel leave me wanting more. For the price and availability a great pick up, especially as an introduction to sour beers for someone.

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Photo of KevinBrewer
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The dark bloodwood color is impressive. The brew is clear, and it has a nice light tan head with moderate retention and minimal lacing.

The nose is of sour cherries, kind of like sweettarts, balanced with a rich woody scent. There is a slight hint of vinegar in the background.

The taste of sweet cherries is most noticeable at first, followed by a block of wood hitting you in the face. More sweetness and tartness follow the woodiness. The aftertaste is similar to the aftertaste of sweettarts. I can't get that connection out of my head. There is also some grain husk in the aftertaste.

It seems to be medium bodied at first, but the texture melts away halfway through. I think the wood flavor makes the body initially seem heavier than it really is. The carbonation is good, and the finish is dry.

Very drinkable. This is one of my first sours, and I thought it was a real treat. I was kind of scared of it tasting like feet or vinegar after reading some forum posts on sour beers, but I was pleasantly surprised. The woodiness was a nice touch. I'd like to drink another, but I only bought one. :(

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Photo of dragonWhale
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliant amber into my chalice of delights, with a white head that slowly dissipates, leaving a ring around the edge. It smells sweet and malty, with a slight sour twinge to it..
In the taste, the sour comes out boldly, buoyed by the sweetness of the young blend. The interplay is well done, creating a beverage that is tart but very drinkable. I certainly enjoyed this, though it was a bit vinegary.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - deep ruby-red hue when lit, but burgundy, almost black appearance upon glance. Semi-opaque. Frothy head is beige and dissipates after 30-60 seconds.

Smell - dominant cherry aroma with hints of currant. Hint of sour, but rounding out into a sweetness.

Taste - strawberry and cherry tartness, but the sour complexity never arrives. Dry finish and a bit bland.

Mouthfeel - light effervescent carbonation. Silky thin coating.

Overall - a drinkable beer due to how mild it is, but also doesn't strike me as a beer I would just drink to drink. Not complex enough of a flavor or aroma to keep me coming back.

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Photo of bilyboy65
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into my standard pilsner style glass.

This is probably the first and last of this style that I'll be having. It was hard to remain objectionable to the style for this review. Funny thing is I like sour things, just apparently not my beer.

A: Flawless. Beautiful dark red-brown color that is still a little transparent. Lots of carbonation can be seen feeding a tan-redish head. No lacing or film left on the glass.

S: Very much like vinegar to me. Some underlining fruit, cranberry maybe, esters is the only saving grace the smell has.

T: Very sour taste with cranberry esters for flavor. Tastes a lot like a cider or a wine.

M: Light bodied with good action on the tongue from the carbonation.

D: If you can stand sour beer this is probably a good one.

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Photo of Kelp
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out a redish brown color with a nice little head on it. Smelled strongly of tart cherries and a hint of balsamic vinegar. Definitely a tart cherry taste followed by a sweet malt to finish it off. Kind of like a sour cherry candy. Mouth feels smooth a decent amount of carbonation with a dryness on the end of it. I could only have one maybe two of these and then get sick of it. My first foray as far as i know into sours and it wasn't bad, but not great either.

 469 characters

Photo of Tucquan
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on 2010-06-26 in Columbia, PA

A - Dark amber with a 3-finger, tan head that drops to 1-finger quickly and doesn't leave much lace.

S - Pungent, dried apricots and sour cherries, malt vinegar, yeast

T - Tastes like it smells with the addition of some tannin. Finishes with too much caramel and fruit sweetness along with the moderate sourness.

M - Light-medium body with high carbonation with small bubble carbonation. Mildly creamy with a champagne feel.

D - It's a nice brew. Not nearly as sour as a Rodenbach Grand Cru, which I prefer. This good tasting ale could be a nice way to ease people into sours without clobbering them over the head. Too sweet though.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 11.2oz bottle (room temp) a murky medium brown with a medium sized head of foam with little lacing.

The smell does indeed have strong sour fruity notes with some sensing of yeast as well.

The taste is of a nice sour peach and apricot at first but then it moves beyond that and becomes peppery...leaving some "heat" in my mouth and on my lips after I finish each sip. Not exactly what I was looking for in a Sour ale.

Bottom line: an interesting brew that I'm glad I got a chance to try but I don't know if I'd visit with this one again.

Thanks, bditty187!

 580 characters

Photo of Viciousknishs
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a ruddy garnet color with half a finger of light tan head.

S- aromas of red wine, basalmic and a touch of sweet maltiness.

T- sweet sugary malt up front with a nice tart kick. Cabernet notes with basalmic tones on the finish with a spritzy moscato character.

MF- slick slightly syrupy mouthfeel with a medium body and average carbonation.

D- pretty drinkable.

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Photo of pmcadamis
3.61/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A - Deep garnet with a giant rocky four finger head and tons of chunky yeast in the glass. Big sheets of lace slide down the glass into that enormous beige head. Head retention is awesome.

S - Sour cherry candy, tart fruit preserves, and red wine vinegar. Nicely balanced sugary-jammy-preserves notes temper the vinegar acidic aroma. Smells a little bit like tart kool-aid mix powder without the sugar.

T - More sour cherry on top of a light brown sugar note. Strawberries. Tart sour candy. Rhubarb.

M - Light bodied with a very acidic tart puckery mouthfeel. FInishes relatively clean and slightly metallic and almost bloody (I know that sounds weird, but there is a bit of that metallic blood note at the end).

A very odd style to be sure, but I like it for it's off-kilter aspect. I think I would have a hard time drinking this with any regularity.

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Photo of dcotom
3.61/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 11.2-ounce bottle into a flute.

L - Clear, dark caramel-copper color with a fluffy light tan head. Lots of beautiful curtain lacing as the head recedes. Subsequent pour raises a glob of foam resembling the head of a root-beer float.

A - Malt, caramel, and a little funk predominate when this is cold. As it warms, some tart fruitiness starts to come through on the nose.

T/F - Again, the character develops as this warms a little from fridge temp. Very bitter at first, without much tartness at all. As it gets closer to cellar temp, the flavors begin to balance out. The bitterness is still present, but the sourness finally starts to assert itself. Sour apple, tart cherry, a touch of cider vinegar. Finishes bitter, with a hint of lingering sourness.

O - From the description of the Flanders Oud Bruin, this would seem to be at the more assertive end of the scale. There was quite a bit more bitterness in my sample than the description would indicate. Had I sampled this with food, it might have mitigated the bitterness somewhat. Still, it is a very fine brew overall, and I actually enjoyed the interplay of the bitter and sour.

 1,151 characters

Photo of jasonjlewis
3.61/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

great head retention, size and lacing.

smell is of green apples and a hint of raisin with a heping of cherried. not quite as complex as I would like but good nevertheless.

taste is of green apples and some caramel malts with cherry undertones. again, not as complex as I would like.

good attenuation and full mouthfeel.

decent stab at the style for a good price per bottle.

 377 characters

Photo of Nick3
3.61/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle poured into a Piraat tulip shaped glass. Beer forms a nice 3 finger head and a cascade of bubbles keeps the head alive for several minutes or so. Dark reddish, brown in color and nice lace formation on the glass. This definitely looks like a quaffable libation! Smells like sour apples (think Jolly Ranchers) and that typical funk you get from this style. Smelled enticing but not nearly as pungent as I would have liked. The smell is a good harbinger for the taste . . . the flavors of sweet and sour come through with a cherry apple finish. It's a well balanced beer but the taste was just not quite as strong in those flavors as I would have liked. I wouldn't say the beer is watery but I wanted to see the flavor and the sweet and sour contrast come through with more ferocity. Alcohol presence is really invisible and that fact coupled with the subtle flavor composition makes it a beer that you can drink in high quantity if you're so inclined. Overall, I enjoyed this beer but it fell a little short of my expectations. If you've never had a beer of this style and want to start with something mellow, this is probably a good bet for you.

 1,163 characters

Photo of pschul4
3.61/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured into my HotD taster courtesy of the man, the legend, Libbey

A- pours a red/brown. Ruby tones, if you nomsayin. Also carbonation explosion. Only can get 1oz in this 3oz taster

S- very sweet malts and a touch of acidic bite on the back end

T- mostly sweet, sour bite in the middle before being sweet again on the end.

M- not as prickly as i would have thought, surprisingly smooth for the style

O- good, not great. Probably wouldnt buy again

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Photo of slackattack
3.61/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into red wine glass

A- first thought was dirty river water. Started off with about half a finger of tight foam, dissipated pretty quickly, lacing was not really present

S- red wine vinegar, sour cherries in your face. Bright and acidic and pretty awesome.

T- started off following the nose, then got away from the sourness a little. Fell off toward the end for me and got a little sweet, maybe it's supposed to, but I would prefer a little more persistent bit.

M- medium to medium-full bodied. There's a definitively detectable amount of malt that I feel like is responsible for the body, not great, not terrible either.

O- like I said, if the label says sour I want and expect sour all the way. The sweetness that came through about 2 seconds into every sip was unwelcome. Didn't hate it, won't buy again though.

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Photo of krisandajt
3.61/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is the first sour I've ever had. Just happened to see it on the shelf at my local beer store, and I wanted to try the style. I'm going to do my best to keep the style in mind as I review.

Appearance: Pours a nice clear red with a great deal of head that fades somewhat quickly. Does leave behind some nice lacing.

Smell: Smell is unique - sour.

Taste: Keeping in mind the style...this is a sour brew. In that regard, it excels.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat watery, but has nice carbonation.

Drinkability: If you like this style, then I would imagine this is a brew for you. Personally, this is something I wanted to try just to say I tried it...I don't see myself drinking many of these in my lifetime.

 703 characters

Photo of bum732
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown, coarse bubbly head that dissipates leaving great lacing. Smells of sour caramel, some oak, mild cherries, bourbon maybe, chocolate, cocoa, heavy earthiness, a lot going on here. Tastes of sour caramel/chocolate with some tart cherry present. To be honest, it almost tastes like coca cola. Not much bitterness and finishes fairly neutral. Good carbonation, again similar to coca cola. Mouthfeel is pretty thin.

An interesting beer, lots of smells and tastes packed in this baby. Not sure if it works though, different from other Oud Bruins, not as sour and a little thin in the mouthfeel. Interesting nonetheless.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,126 ratings.
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